White Sox 9, Red Sox 5: Who needs Billy Wagner when you have Nick Green? The shortstop pitches two shutout innings. That’s a huge increase in the number of innings he’s thrown over last year, but don’t worry: Since he’s over 25, the Verducci Effect probably doesn’t come into play.
Dodgers 3, Rockies 2: Vicente Padilla. Who knew? Nothing special of course — two runs on six hits over five — but that’s a few fewer hits and runs than you might have expected him to give up. This series — and what came before and after it — represents everything fantastic about baseball. The Rockies took three of four from the Giants and won one in dramatic fashion against L.A. 48 hours ago. Then bam, bam, they’re four games out and have to go to San Francisco and face Tim Lincecum, a resurgent Barry Zito and Matt Cain. They could end the week way worse off than they started it, and no one could have expected it as late as Wednesday afternoon. It’s a relentless season that gives no quarter. You can’t pump yourself up once a week or ride a hot hand. Twenty-five guys have to go out there every single day and do it. It actually makes exercises like these daily recaps rather silly, as the true story of the season can only truly be seen from a distance. The true mettle of a team revealed in its skills at long term survival.
Diamondbacks 11, Giants 0: Then again, maybe the Rockies don’t have much to worry about this weekend.
Pirates 3, Phillies 2: So your first closer blows one, and your second closer blows one again the next night. Now what do you do? Well, you can leave your starter out there the whole game, which is what Charlie Manuel did with J.A. Happ last night. That didn’t work either as Happ gives up two in the eighth, so now it looks like the Phils are on to Plan D. Say, I wonder what would it take to pry Nick Green away from Boston . . .
Braves 9, Padres 1: Atlanta salvages one behind seven shutout innings by Javier Vazquez, who had an RBI to boot. Nine runs and seventeen hits for the Braves, but the only extra-base hit was Adam LaRoche’s homer in the sixth. Otherwise, it was single-fest.
Nationals 5, Cubs 4: Milton Bradley was 0 for 5, and is in a big slump. I have no idea if Cubs fans actually hate him like he thinks they do, but if they don’t already, he’s giving them ample reason. The Cubs are now nine behind St. Louis. “Look, let’s just win some baseball games. Forget the Cardinals and every other team,” said Lou Piniella after the game. As long as that includes the Cubs, I think everyone is on board.
Astros 4, Cardinals 3: Jeff Keppinger hit what would prove to be the winning homer with two out in the ninth, averting a sweep by the Cards. Nice rally, however small, the day after Oswalt said the team was “dead.” Then again, maybe Oswalt didn’t really mean the team was dead. I always have taken comments like that to be the way players communicate their general unhappiness with the manager to the press and team brass.
Royals Orioles 4 [I have no idea what I was smoking]: Andy Marte homered, tripled and drove in a couple. He’s still no great shakes on the year, but he’s on a warmish streak of late. If he keeps it up, he may actually be given one final chance to be an all-season everyday starter in 2010. Because he’s a former Braves prospect — and because I fear that the concept of being a AAAA player extends to other walks of life beyond baseball and I thus want to see it debunked out of fear and anxiety — I’m kind of rooting for him to make it.
Rangers 7, Yankees 2: The team whose starter struck out 12 dudes in six innings lost, and the team whose starter walked seven in 3.2 IP won. That makes sense.
Reds 8, Brewers 5: Nothing I can say can beat the storylines as told by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. First, Tom Haudricourt’s game story starts like this: “It was another discouraging day at Miller Park on Thursday as the Brewers ended a discouraging series in what has become a discouraging second half.” The headline to Michael Hunt’s column puts it more succinctly: “Another dank day of despair for our ’09 Brewers.” I’m guessing they’ve all turned their attention to the Badgers and Pack by now.
Mets 10, Marlins 3: Day games in Miami in August make total sense. The box score says that there over 12,000 paid to see this game, but based on the crowd shots I saw, there couldn’t have been half that. Which raises a philosophical question: if the Mets get 17 hits and no one was there to see it, did it really happen?
Athletics 2, Angels 0: Trevor Cahill threw two-hit shutout ball over seven innings and Mike Wuertz and Andrew Bailey shut out the Angels for the remaining two innings. This is bizarre: “The Angels’ uniformed personnel and front office staff assembled in center field before batting practice for the 2009 team photo, but RHP Jered Weaver missed because he was home with the flu. So PR guy Eric Kay stood in wearing Weaver’s No. 36 jersey, and the pitcher’s head will be superimposed when it is printed.” What happens if, say, Juan Rivera screws up something really bad in a playoff game that costs the team the season. Do they airbrush him out like Stalin did with purged political enemies? Because the possibilities here seem limitless.
And no, I have no idea why I missed the Mariners-Royals score, but the Royals won. I hope my oversight doesn’t screw up the historical record or anything.